Cleveland May 20, 2018
If You Can Pronounce These 9 Words, You’ve Lived In Cleveland For Far Too Long
Here in Northeast Ohio, the locals are a breed of people with unique attitudes and lifestyles. We also possess a unique vernacular in addition to an accent that is all our own. If you can pronounce these words without thinking twice, you are a true Cleveland native.
The people indigenous to this region named their river Cuayhoga, a word that means "crooked." The name has stuck, and it has continued to be used today. One could explore the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, ride the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, and then head home to Cuyahoga County. This unusual word is abundant all around our region.
Chippewa was the way early English settlers originally heard the name of the Algonquian
tribe, and the name has remained prevalent throughout the region. From the dreamy Chippewa Creek in the Cleveland Metroparks' Brecksville Reservation to the former
Chippewa Lake Amusement Park
that you may have once frequented, this name remains prevalent all throughout Northeastern Ohio.
Cleveland neighborhoods like Tremont are overflowing with Polish and Slavic immigrants, making names like Sokolowski quite common. But why is this one surname in particular iconic? Since 1923, the Sokolowski family has treated locals to some of the tastiest Polish food in town. In fact, they're one of the
best restaurants in The Land
The Cleveland Indians have long faced controversy, in part for their name and in part for their logo, which many cite as a racial caricature. Chief Wahoo was created in the Jim Crow era, and his caricature is described as racist and hateful. Others, of course, loved the logo for its unusual design and iconic significance. It was announced in early 2018 that
Chief Wahoo was to be retired from on-field use
following 2018, but it seems that many locals continue to misunderstand the chief's retirement. While he will no longer be seen on the field, the team maintains ownership of the logo, meaning that Chief Wahoo will still appear on merchandise and in the crowds of future games.
Once upon a time, the Onondaga peoples referred to the Grand River as "Geauga," a word which means "raccoon." Though the word no longer describes the river, it is now the title of one of Cleveland's neighboring counties. Many locals once frequented the charming Geauga Lake Amusement Park, a fun little escape that now sits in ruin.
The quaint county of Tuscarawas makes for a lovely day trip for many Clevelanders, but like many other words on this list, Tuscarawas has very old roots. The word is believed to be of Delaware origin, and it either translates as "old town" or "open mouth." Which do you think is the more likely translation?
Heinen is another old Cleveland name, and this store has long served the Greater Cleveland area. In 1929, Joe Heinen opened his first store on Kinsman Road. It was a butcher shop, but it was successful enough that he was able to launch a career as a grocer. In recent years, this splendid local company decided to breathe life into a neglected Cleveland icon. For the full story, click
Medina County borders Cuyahoga County to the south, and its history is fascinating. Medina, the county seat, was originally named Mecca... that is until locals realized that there was already a community with that name. It was changed to Medina, but it is not pronounced like the traditional Saudi city of "Meh-dee-na." Here, as you know, we say "Meh-dine-uh," which makes navigating anywhere using Siri or Google Maps pretty funny.
Hidden in Portage County is a petite village with a unique name. Mantua may seem easy enough to pronounce, but it is not quite phonetic as one may imagine. Here, we pronounce this word as "Man-uh-way."
Language is a fascinating thing, but it is particularly interesting to know how and why particular groups pronounce things in a certain way. Here in Greater Cleveland, we locals are familiar with a wide range of words that would stump out-of-towners. How many of these words do you recognize?
For more, check out these
nearby communities with super strange names.